The Northwest Territories Power Corporation wants to boost electrical rates almost 30 per cent over the next four years.
One of the reasons for the rate increase is so that the power company can pay to rebuild the Bluefish hydro dam. The big-ticket project will now cost more than $20 million more than initially estimated.
Chuck Corothers said during winter, the power bills for his Yellowknife home building business are about $10,000 a month. While high, he said the rate increase will hit other retailers harder.
"I know it would have even more of an impact on the grocery businesses and stuff in town. You've got locations that have to run a lot of coolers, a lot of refrigeration systems. When you start to get into that, their bills are two to three times ours a month," said Corrothers.
Seven years after the power corporation bought the dam for more than $10 million, the dam was in danger of collapsing.
The initial price tag for replacing it — $18.5 million — has since doubled. Corporation spokesperson Bob Kelly said it was their best estimate at the time.
"It was submitted on the basis that it was an emergency, that there was more work to do to come up with a complete project budget," said Kelly.
Premier Bob McLeod said independent reviews show the corporation is doing a good job and he said he’s confident the corporation is working as effectively and efficiently as possible.